29 October 2011

No, Thanks (in Advance)!

You've all seen it in an e-mail: "Blahbiddy-Blah. Please do X for me. Thanks in Advance!" How did it make you feel when you read that? Likely, you took it to mean that the person really appreciates you for helping them out. But is that really what they are saying?

Taken literally, they are saying, "I'm thanking you right now for something that you haven't done yet. I don't know how well you will do it, so you may end up not helping me at all, but thanks anyway." That kind of 'thanks' doesn't strike me as very meaningful. Instead, it seems a lazy way of checking a social norm box.

When someone does something exceptional for you, thank them at the point of delivery. If they tried their best but didn't end up being that helpful, you can still thank them (for their efforts, at least). Yeah, it might be one more e-mail clogging up somebody's inbox, but that is a small price for preserving a sense of value in the work that we do well.

23 October 2011

Pursuit of Science

Science is under attack by the ever masquerading, often lazy, sometimes malignant activity known as pseudo-science, but more often just called science. You don't just "do" science, you attainment it. Science is a goal. Just because you have charts and use data, does not mean you are using science. "The data don't lie" is the biggest lie of them all. The data could be wrong, not to mention being presented in a misleading fashion. Truly pursuing science means reaching to attain science. It is not cheap and it is not easy. . Pursue science, my friends. It is a worthy undertaking.